The final instalment of Stephen Langridge and Alison Chitty’s Ring Cycle new productions at Gothenburg Opera premiered on the 5th
December 2021, with an early review from Andrew Mellor describing it as "the most moving Ring I have experienced in a theatre...clear, passionate and resonant [and] absolutely of its time and entirely of its place".
Götterdämmerung brings to a close this four-year project for Langridge and Chitty and the first Ring cycle staged by Gothenburg Opera. Man’s relationship with nature is the central theme of these new productions – Langridge interprets the Ring cycle as the apocalyptic consequences of humankind’s overreaching into nature and overexploitation of natural resources, and this is visually supported by Chitty’s sustainable set and costume designs which gradually deteriorate as the cycle progresses. It began in 2018 with an “incredibly gripping” and “high class” Das Rheingold, followed by an “eagerly awaited” Die Walküre in 2019. In 2020, during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, a “quietly radical”, five-star Siegfried
was recorded behind closed doors and streamed online, a "triumph in a time of adversity" as described by Opera Now.
This production of Götterdämmerung has been received by critics with similar enthusiasm. Andrew Mellor writes for Opera News, "Rogister, Langridge and the Gothenburgers have given us a Ring with musical and dramatic impact that is absolutely of its time, and entirely of its place. That is no small accomplishment" while Niklas Smith of Seen and Heard International writes "this production is a product of the joy of storytelling and glorious music".
From the outset, the creative team received outstanding praise for their artistic vision, in particular the refreshing simplicity and humanistic core of their interpretation of Wagner. Langridge is praised for his “gift for revealing the beating human heart in the most grandiose of works”, his “beautiful” and “moving” imagery that “finds beauty and horror in unexpected corners”, and his “magnificently inventive” staging that, where necessary, creatively accommodated pandemic restraints. Langridge's vision is complemented by Chitty’s signature earthy and minimalist designs, which were lauded for the “tidy refinement” in the second-hand costumes. Her “sleek and functional” sets of recycled wood, old furniture, debris, and projections are “symbolically evocative” and “sunny and sad – in the ugliness, there is still something uplifting”.
This Ring cycle is the latest in Alison Chitty and Stephen Langridge’s successful collaboration, with previous highlights including Wagner's Parsifal and Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s The Minotaur, both at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and Handel's Theodora at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris. Previously Artistic Director of Gothenburg Opera, Stephen Langridge is now the Artistic Director at Glyndebourne. Alison Chitty OBE has designed numerous opera productions in the UK and worldwide, and was made a Royal Designer for Industry in 2009 by the Royal Society of Arts and received an Honorary Fellowship from the University of the Arts London in 2013.
More information on the Götterdämmerung production and photos can be found at the Gothenburg Opera website here. Reviews from all four productions can be found at Alison Chitty and Stephen Langridge's pages.
The trailer with interview with Stephen Langridge can be found here and a panel discussion about the opera with the cast and creatives can be found here.